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The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced its global plan to eliminate artificial trans fats in food. WHO calls governments and food manufacturers to lessen industrial trans fats in the next five years. The plan is composed of a step-by-step process to be completed by year 2023, which aims to save more lives and improve health in every nation. WHO stated that trans fats found in baked goods and  fried items contribute to the death of over 500,000 people with cardiovascular disease per year. Michael Bloomberg, Global Ambassador of WHO for Noncommunicable Diseases, approved the ban with the goal to lessen heart attack cases.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, appeals to public institutions to use the REPLACE action program to eradicate trans fats, also known as trans fatty acids, from industrially produced food.

Also, Dr. Ghebreyesus emphasized, “Implementing the six strategic actions in the REPLACE package will help achieve the elimination of trans fat, and represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular disease.”

The REPLACE Program

Under the REPLACE initiative, WHO offers six strategic action plans to guarantee the immediate, comprehensive, and continued elimination of trans fatty acids from the food supply. Based on WHO’s released statement on their website, REPLACE specifically means:

Review dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change.

Promote the replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats and oils.

Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats.

Assess and monitor trans fats content in the food supply and changes in trans fat consumption in the population.

Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats among policy makers, producers, suppliers, and the public.

Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.”

Together with other organizations and institutions, the International Food and Beverage Alliance supports the plan, which serves as the major representative of Kellog’s General Mills, McDonald’s, and Mars.

Making Every Effort Count

WHO does not have the full authority to enact a worldwide ban. Nevertheless, it has the influence to create a way for restricting manufactured fatty acids. The WHO suggested that consumers can use healthier oils and fats without affecting the cost or taste of the food. Moreover, regulatory actions and legislation would also aid to this plan, supported by education campaign and enforcement measures.

Many high-income nations have effectively eliminated manufactured trans fats by legal restrictions on trans fat content in processed food. Similarly, several governments have also approved nationwide prohibitions on partially hydrogenated oils, the leading source of artery-clogging trans fatty acids.

Notably, Denmark is the first nation to implement restrictions on trans fats wherein fatty acids in produced food exponentially decreased. Additionally, deaths related to cardiovascular diseases also declined relatively faster compared to those in other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations.

Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, stated in an interview:

New York City eliminated industrially-produced trans fat a decade ago, following Denmark’s lead. Trans fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there’s no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed.

For the most part, restriction on the consumption of trans fats is weak in low- to middle-income nations. Hence, governments need urgent action to make sure that the public feel the bold impacts of the REPLACE initiative.

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